Pivoting Strategies: A Study of Pivot Severity, Investor Reliance, and Revenue among Startups

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


“Pivoting”, or a strategic shift in the direction of a venture, may be one of the most recognizable terms in entrepreneurship. Although this term has entered the entrepreneurial lexicon, very little is known about the impact pivoting has on new venture performance. Some studies suggest pivoting has positive effects on performance while others suggest executing too many pivots adversely affect it. This paper seeks to better understand the impact of multiple pivots on revenue by investigating the moderating roles of pivot severity (the degree to which a pivot represent a market shift) and reliance on investors. We investigate the impact of multiple pivots on revenue, distinguishing between high-tech vs low-tech startups and between mild vs severe pivots. We also investigate the impact that equity investments have on the pivot-revenue relationship of high-tech firms. Using change in a venture's NAICS code as a proxy for pivoting, we find an inverted-U relationship between magnitude of pivots and the likelihood of revenue among Kauffman Firm Survey participants. Among high-tech firms, this relationship differs based on the firm's reliance on investors. This longitudinal empirical study on the relationship between pivot magnitude, investor reliance, and revenue aims to attract attention to this important topic of entrepreneurship, and help the entrepreneur facing the difficult decision of whether or not to pivot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 55th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2022
EditorsTung X. Bui
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780998133157
StatePublished - 2022
Event55th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Jan 3 2022Jan 7 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
ISSN (Print)1530-1605


Conference55th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, HICSS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering

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